YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – It was quiet on Powers Way on Youngstown’s south side Monday evening, but less than 24 hours ago, it was a different scene for Youngstown firefighters.
“It is nothing you get used to,” Battalion Chief Ron Russo said.
He was referring to a fire early Monday that claimed the lives of a Youngstown couple and their 10-year-old granddaughter.
“We have an occupation that is tragic. You know that going in,” Russo said.
He has been fighting fires for years and he said specific blazes are seared into his mind.
“It is a little different with kids. It’s a little different when you are taking a body out. Things you just don’t forget,” Russo said.
Monday’s fatal fire was a first for some of the firefighters.
“A lot of young guys saw death for the first time last night,” Russo said.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, nearly one child dies every day from fires nationwide. It’s a number that has decreased from nearly two children a day a decade ago.
“They saw what a fire can actually do,” Russo said.
And the firefighters in Youngstown will depend on each other to move forward after Monday’s tragic blaze. Russo said in extreme situations, firefighters can go to St. Elizabeth Health Center for help to cope, but in most situations, the support at the fire station is enough for them.
Regardless, Russo said they will regroup and prepare for the next fire.
“What we do, somebody has to do it and we do it,” he said.
There were 115 fire-related deaths in Ohio last year.